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How To Travel In Iceland


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Nani Dudley




When it comes to breathtaking landscapes, unique natural wonders, and a vibrant culture, few places compare to Iceland. This Nordic island nation, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, has become a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure and stunning scenery. From its majestic waterfalls and towering glaciers to its geothermal hot springs and black sand beaches, Iceland offers an array of attractions that will leave you in awe.


While planning a trip to Iceland, it is important to consider various factors such as the best time to visit, transportation options, accommodation choices, must-see sights, outdoor activities, dining experiences, safety tips, and the essential travel accessories you should pack. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your Icelandic adventure.


Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a culture lover, Iceland has something for everyone. From exploring the otherworldly landscapes of the Golden Circle to witnessing the mesmerizing phenomenon of the Northern Lights, Iceland offers unforgettable experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.


So, prepare to embark on a journey of a lifetime as we delve into the world of Iceland’s travel essentials and accessories. From packing tips to must-visit destinations, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to make your trip to Iceland an unforgettable one.


Best Time to Visit Iceland


Choosing the right time to visit Iceland is crucial to make the most of your trip. The country experiences a unique climate that can vary greatly depending on the season. Each season in Iceland offers its own unique charm and opportunities for exploration.


Summer, from June to August, is the most popular time to visit Iceland. During this time, the days are long and the weather is relatively mild, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the countryside. The landscape is adorned with vibrant greenery, colorful wildflowers, and cascading waterfalls.


Autumn, from September to November, is a beautiful time to witness the changing colors of the Icelandic landscape. The weather starts to cool down, and the crowds thin out, making it a great time to enjoy the peacefulness of nature.


Winter, from December to February, is known for its long nights and the magical phenomenon of the Northern Lights. While the weather can be cold and unpredictable, it offers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Iceland’s icy landscapes and partake in winter activities such as ice cave explorations and snowmobiling.


Spring, from March to May, brings a sense of renewal to Iceland. The days start to get longer, and the landscape begins to come alive with blooming flowers and migrating birds. It is a great time to experience the contrast between snowy mountains and emerging greenery.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Iceland depends on your personal preferences and what you wish to experience. If you want to enjoy long daylight hours and pleasant weather, summer is the ideal time. However, if you want to witness the enchanting Northern Lights or experience a winter wonderland, then winter is the best choice.


Keep in mind that weather conditions in Iceland can be unpredictable, so it is always a good idea to check the forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Regardless of the season you choose, Iceland promises a truly unforgettable experience.


Transportation in Iceland


When it comes to getting around in Iceland, there are several transportation options that cater to different travel styles and preferences. Here are some of the main modes of transportation you can consider during your visit:


1. Renting a Car: Renting a car is a popular choice for travelers who want the freedom to explore Iceland at their own pace. The country has a well-maintained road network, including the famous Ring Road (Route 1), which provides access to many of Iceland’s scenic spots. Keep in mind that driving conditions can vary depending on the season, so be sure to check road conditions and weather forecasts before embarking on your journey.


2. Public Transportation: Iceland has a reliable and efficient public transportation system, especially in and around the capital city of Reykjavik. Buses operated by Strætó connect various parts of the country, making it a convenient option for those who prefer not to drive. However, public transportation may have limited schedules and reach, especially in remote areas.


3. Taxi Services: Taxis are readily available in urban areas and can be hailed from designated taxi stands or booked through mobile apps. However, taxis can be quite expensive in Iceland, so it’s important to consider this when planning your budget.


4. Tours and Excursions: Joining organized tours and excursions is a popular way to explore Iceland’s top attractions, especially if you prefer not to drive or navigate on your own. There are various guided tours available, ranging from day trips to multi-day adventures, allowing you to visit popular sights such as the Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon, and the South Coast.


It’s worth noting that Iceland’s remote and rugged landscapes require careful consideration of safety and preparation. Always familiarize yourself with local driving regulations, road conditions, and weather forecasts. Additionally, be mindful of any travel restrictions or closures that may be in place due to weather or environmental conditions.


Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, exploring Iceland is an incredible experience. The country’s vast and diverse landscapes are waiting to be discovered, and getting around is part of the adventure. So, whether you decide to rent a car and go off the beaten path or join a guided tour, transportation in Iceland offers options that suit all types of travelers.


Accommodation Options in Iceland


When it comes to finding accommodation in Iceland, you’ll discover a range of options that cater to different budgets, preferences, and travel styles. From luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses, here are some of the main accommodation options to consider during your stay:


1. Hotels: Iceland offers a variety of hotels, ranging from luxury properties in the heart of Reykjavik to remote boutique hotels nestled in the countryside. These hotels provide comfortable rooms, amenities, and often feature on-site restaurants and spas. Staying in a hotel ensures convenience and access to various services.


2. Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts: Guesthouses, also known as farm stays, are popular in rural areas. These cozy and charming accommodations offer a more intimate experience, often run by local families. Bed and Breakfasts are another option, providing comfortable rooms with breakfast included in the rate. Guesthouses and B&Bs are a great way to experience Icelandic hospitality and immerse yourself in the local culture.


3. Hostels: Hostels are a budget-friendly option for travelers, offering shared dormitory-style rooms or private rooms. Hostels often have communal areas where you can meet fellow travelers, and some may even provide kitchen facilities and social activities. They are ideal for backpackers or those seeking a more social travel experience.


4. Camping: Iceland is known for its stunning natural landscapes, making camping a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous campsites throughout the country, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying basic facilities such as bathrooms and cooking areas. Keep in mind that camping is only allowed in designated areas, and weather conditions should be taken into consideration.


5. Airbnb and Vacation Rentals: Renting a private apartment or house through platforms like Airbnb is a great option for those seeking a home-away-from-home experience. This allows you to have your own space and often includes access to a kitchen and other amenities.


It’s important to note that accommodation in Iceland can get booked quickly, especially during the peak summer months. Therefore, it’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance to secure your preferred choice.


Additionally, if you’re traveling during the winter months, it’s a good idea to choose accommodations that offer amenities like hot tubs or saunas, where you can relax and unwind after a day of exploring in the cold weather.


No matter which type of accommodation you choose, rest assured that Iceland’s hospitality will make your stay comfortable and memorable. So, take your time to research and find the perfect place that suits your needs, allowing you to fully enjoy your Icelandic adventure.


Must-Visit Places in Iceland


Iceland is a country filled with breathtaking natural wonders and diverse landscapes. From cascading waterfalls and towering glaciers to geothermal hot springs and black sand beaches, there are countless must-visit places that will leave you in awe. Here are some of the top destinations to include in your Iceland itinerary:


1. Reykjavik: Start your journey in the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik. Explore the city’s charming streets, visit cultural landmarks like Hallgrimskirkja Church, and immerse yourself in the local art and music scene. Don’t forget to try the delicious Icelandic cuisine and indulge in the city’s lively nightlife.


2. The Golden Circle: This popular tourist route includes three must-see attractions: Thingvellir National Park, where you can witness the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates; the Geysir Geothermal Area, home to the famous spouting hot spring Strokkur; and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall, known as the “Golden Falls.”


3. The Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a lava field and is one of Iceland’s most iconic attractions. Relax in the warm, mineral-rich waters while enjoying the stunning surroundings. It is advisable to book your visit in advance, as the Blue Lagoon can get busy.


4. The South Coast: Journey along Iceland’s beautiful South Coast, known for its rugged cliffs, black sand beaches, and towering waterfalls. Don’t miss the stunning Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, the volcanic black sand beach at Reynisfjara, and the breathtaking glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon.


5. Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Located in western Iceland, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers diverse natural beauty, including dramatic coastlines, towering mountains, and the famous Snæfellsjökull volcano. Explore charming fishing villages, visit the iconic Kirkjufell mountain, and take in the stunning vistas along the coastline.


6. Landmannalaugar: For those seeking a unique experience, a visit to Landmannalaugar is a must. This geothermal wonderland is situated in the Icelandic Highlands, boasting colorful rhyolite mountains, natural hot springs, and epic hiking trails. It is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.


These are just a few highlights of the many extraordinary destinations Iceland has to offer. Remember to plan your itinerary according to the time you have available and your personal interests. Whether you’re captivated by the wonders of nature, interested in the country’s history and culture, or looking for outdoor adventures, Iceland will undoubtedly leave you spellbound.


Outdoor Activities in Iceland


When it comes to outdoor activities, Iceland is a playground for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. With its diverse landscapes, dramatic scenery, and unique geography, there are plenty of thrilling activities to enjoy. Here are some of the top outdoor activities to experience in Iceland:


1. Hiking and Trekking: Lace up your boots and explore Iceland’s vast network of hiking trails. From easy coastal walks to challenging multi-day treks, there are options for all skill levels. Discover the stunning vistas of Landmannalaugar, traverse the glaciers of Skaftafell National Park, or hike to remote waterfalls and hidden valleys.


2. Glacier Tours: Embark on an unforgettable glacier adventure by joining a guided glacier tour. From ice cave explorations to ice climbing and glacier walks, these tours offer a unique opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of Iceland’s glaciers up close.


3. Whale Watching: Set sail in search of majestic marine life on a whale watching tour. Iceland is one of the best places in the world to spot whales, including humpback whales, minke whales, and orcas. Get ready to be awe-struck as these magnificent creatures breach and swim alongside your boat.


4. Volcano Tours: Explore Iceland’s volcanic landscape by joining a volcano tour. Witness lava fields, volcanic craters, and even walk inside dormant volcanoes. The Fimmvörðuháls hike, which takes you between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, offers a unique opportunity to see the aftermath of volcanic eruptions.


5. Hot Springs and Geothermal Spas: Relax and rejuvenate in Iceland’s geothermal pools and hot springs. The Blue Lagoon is the most famous one, offering a luxurious spa experience amidst a surreal volcanic landscape. You can also find natural hot springs tucked away in remote areas, offering a more secluded bathing experience.


6. Wildlife Watching: Iceland is home to a variety of unique wildlife species, including puffins, seals, reindeer, and Arctic foxes. Take a guided wildlife tour to spot these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats or visit bird cliffs where hundreds of puffins gather during the breeding season.


These are just a few of the countless outdoor activities you can enjoy in Iceland. Make the most of your time by immersing yourself in the country’s natural wonders and embracing the sense of adventure that awaits you. Remember to prioritize safety, follow any guidelines provided by tour operators, and respect the fragile environment to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable experience.


Icelandic Cuisine and Dining


Icelandic cuisine is a unique blend of traditional Nordic flavors, fresh local ingredients, and modern culinary influences. While some dishes might seem unusual at first, exploring the country’s food scene is a must for any visitor. Here are some highlights of Icelandic cuisine and dining:


1. Seafood: With its abundant coastline, Iceland is known for its delicious and diverse seafood. Try traditional dishes like the Icelandic fish stew, known as “plokkfiskur,” or sample the local delicacy, fermented shark, known as “hákarl.” Be sure to also try the fresh Icelandic salmon, langoustines, and Atlantic cod.


2. Lamb: Iceland’s pure and natural environment allows for the production of high-quality lamb. The Icelandic lamb is known for its tender meat and unique flavor resulting from the animals grazing on wild herbs and grasses. Taste traditional dishes like “hangikjöt” (smoked lamb) or “lambæsing” (lamb stew).


3. Rye Bread: Icelandic rye bread, known as “rúgbrauð,” is a staple in the country’s cuisine. It’s typically made by burying the dough in the ground near a hot spring, allowing it to slowly bake and develop a dark, rich flavor. Try it with butter, smoked salmon, or Icelandic cheese.


4. Skyr: Skyr is a traditional Icelandic dairy product that resembles yogurt but has a thicker and creamier consistency. It’s high in protein and low in fat, making it a favorite among health-conscious individuals. Enjoy it on its own or as a base for various toppings and flavors.


5. Pastries and Sweets: Icelandic pastries and sweets are a delightful treat. Try the famous “kleina,” a twisted deep-fried pastry, or the “vínarterta,” a multi-layered cake with prune jam filling. Don’t forget to indulge in Icelandic chocolate, licorice, and the unique ice cream flavors available throughout the country.


6. Farm-to-Table Dining: Iceland’s emphasis on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients has given rise to a vibrant farm-to-table dining scene. Many restaurants in Reykjavik and beyond showcase the best of Icelandic produce and offer innovative interpretations of traditional dishes.


In addition to exploring the local cuisine, dining experiences in Iceland can also involve visiting local farmers or fishermen, participating in cooking classes, or enjoying a meal in unique settings such as traditional turf houses.


Overall, Icelandic cuisine offers a blend of flavors that reflects the country’s natural surroundings and rich culinary heritage. Whether you’re a food lover or seeking to try new and exciting dishes, be sure to embrace the local cuisine and savor the flavors of Iceland during your visit.


Safety Tips for Traveling in Iceland


While Iceland is generally a safe country to visit, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and well-being during your trip. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind when traveling in Iceland:


1. Check the Weather: Icelandic weather can be unpredictable and change rapidly. Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. Dress in layers, wear appropriate clothing, and carry essential items such as waterproof gear and sturdy footwear.


2. Respect Nature: Iceland is known for its stunning natural landscapes, and it’s important to respect and protect them. Follow designated trails and paths, and never disturb or remove natural formations or wildlife. Be mindful of fragile ecosystems, and adhere to any guidelines or restrictions in protected areas.


3. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any travel advisories or warnings issued by local authorities or tour operators. Familiarize yourself with safety procedures and emergency contact numbers. It’s also recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and evacuation.


4. Driving Safety: If you plan to drive in Iceland, familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and road conditions. Stick to the speed limits, stay on designated roads, and watch out for changing weather and road signs. Be cautious when driving in winter, as icy conditions and snowstorms can make roads hazardous.


5. Water Safety: Iceland offers numerous opportunities for water-related activities, such as hot springs or glacier tours. Follow safety guidelines and use caution when bathing in natural hot springs or participating in glacier-related activities. Take note of warning signs and advice from experienced guides.


6. Respect Local Guidelines: Follow any rules or regulations set by landowners or tour operators, especially when visiting private properties or engaging in outdoor activities. Be mindful of the environment and local communities, and leave no trace behind.


7. Be Prepared: Carry essential items with you, such as a map, GPS, extra food, water, and a first-aid kit. Inform someone about your travel plans and expected return time, especially if you’re heading into remote or less-populated areas.


By following these safety tips and using common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip in Iceland. Always prioritize your well-being and respect the local environment to ensure a positive and unforgettable experience in this beautiful Nordic country.


Packing Essentials for Iceland Travel


When preparing for your trip to Iceland, packing the right essentials is crucial to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some key items you should consider including in your packing list:


1. Layered Clothing: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so packing layers is essential. Include base layers, such as thermal tops and bottoms, for insulation. Pack warm sweaters, fleece jackets, and a waterproof outer layer to protect against wind and rain. Don’t forget to bring hats, gloves, and scarves for added warmth.


2. Sturdy Footwear: Invest in a good pair of waterproof and insulated hiking boots or waterproof shoes. Iceland’s terrains can be uneven and wet, so having proper footwear will keep your feet dry and provide traction when hiking or exploring.


3. Rain Gear: A waterproof and windproof jacket with a hood and waterproof pants are essential for tackling Iceland’s changing weather conditions. Look for gear that is breathable to prevent moisture buildup while keeping you dry.


4. Swimwear: Don’t forget to pack your swimwear, even if you’re visiting during the colder months. Iceland is famous for its geothermal hot springs and thermal pools, so you won’t want to miss the opportunity to relax and take a dip in these natural wonders.


5. Travel Adapter: Iceland uses the Europlug (Type C) and the Schuko (Type F) plug-types. Make sure to bring a travel adapter to charge your electronics and keep them powered throughout your trip.


6. Reusable Water Bottle: Iceland has abundant clean and fresh water sources, so carrying a reusable water bottle is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Refill it whenever you come across a tap or natural spring.


7. Personal Medications: If you have any prescribed medications, ensure you have enough supply for the duration of your trip. It’s also wise to carry a basic first-aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, and any specific items you may need.


8. Travel Insurance: Protect yourself against unforeseen events by purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Verify that your insurance provides adequate coverage for activities you plan to undertake in Iceland, such as hiking or glacier exploration.


9. Camera and Binoculars: Iceland offers stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. Bring a good quality camera to capture memorable moments and binoculars to observe wildlife from a distance.


10. Map and Guidebook: While GPS and online maps are handy, having a physical map and guidebook can be helpful, especially if you venture into areas with limited or no internet connectivity.


Remember to pack efficiently and consider the season and activities you plan to engage in. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip and adjust your packing list accordingly.


By packing these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle Iceland’s diverse weather conditions and fully enjoy all the adventures this captivating country has to offer.




Traveling to Iceland is a dream for many, and with its stunning landscapes, unique natural wonders, and vibrant culture, it’s easy to see why. By considering the best time to visit, transportation options, accommodation choices, must-visit places, outdoor activities, dining experiences, safety tips, and packing essentials, you can be well-prepared for an unforgettable journey.


Iceland offers a wide range of experiences, from exploring the geothermal wonders of the Golden Circle to hiking along glaciated peaks and indulging in the local cuisine. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or a culture enthusiast, Iceland has something to offer for everyone.


As you embark on your Icelandic adventure, remember to respect the environment, follow safety guidelines, and prioritize your well-being. Plan your itinerary wisely, allowing time for both popular sights and off-the-beaten-path adventures. Immerse yourself in the local culture, try authentic Icelandic dishes, and embrace the sense of wonder that comes with exploring a land of fire and ice.


With the right preparation and a sense of curiosity, your trip to Iceland is sure to be filled with awe-inspiring moments, breathtaking vistas, and unforgettable experiences. Whether it’s witnessing the dancing colors of the Northern Lights, hiking along volcanic landscapes, or soaking in the warmth of a geothermal spa, Iceland will leave an indelible mark on your soul.


So, pack your bags, embark on your Icelandic journey, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in this magical land where nature truly reigns supreme.